Looking for the best attic fan for your home?
Look no further!
In this proHVACinfo guide, you’ll learn:
- What are attic fans? (why are they so important?
- What are the different types of attic fans? (learn which is right for you)
- How do attic fans work? (cooling without air conditioning)
- What do you look for in the best box fans? (don’t forget these things!)
And much more!
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
April 10, 2021
QuietCool Smart Attic Gable FanCheck on Amazon
Attic fans are certainly underappreciated, and because few people really know much about them, it can be hard to figure out which ones are actually the best.--break--In this test we picked from the most popular models on the market, and from those particular fans we crowned one winner – the QuietCool Smart Attic Gable Fan.--break--Why?--break--There really is a lot to like about this fan – first and foremost, it’s plug and play, and requires no wiring, something that many attic fans need before you can operate them.--break--Subsequently, installation is a breeze.--break--Construction is top quality on this fan, too, and of course, not only is this the proHVACinfo top pick, but it’s also the most powerful attic fan on the market!
In a hurry? Check out our quick roundup of the best attic fans!
QuietCool Smart Attic Gable Fan
|View on Amazon|
Remington Solar Attic Fan
|View on Amazon|
iPower 12 Inch Shutter Fan
|View on Amazon|
Cool Attic Gable Mount Ventilator
|View on Amazon|
AC Infinity Airlift T10 Shutter Fan
|View on Amazon|
What Are Attic Fans?
Attic fans are specialist fans that are typically mounted in a gable end of an attic or in some cases directly in your roof.
The purpose of an attic fan is to take the hot, moist air commonly found in attics and move it to the exterior of the home.
Why is this useful?
Think about the sun beating down on your home during a hot summer day.
Your home’s roof is what’s directly exposed to the sun, so the heat is first transferred to the attic, where it then radiates throughout the rest of the home.
Think of your attic as the first line of defense when it comes to keeping your home cool.
Without appropriate ventilation, the temperature of an attic can reach well over 100 degrees.
If you’re able to increase ventilation and lower the temperature in your attic, the rest of the home will benefit as a result (because it isn’t getting as much heat from the attic).
This not only keeps you cooler, it also lightens the load on your air conditioning system, improving its effectiveness, longevity, and decreasing your utility bills in the process.
The high temperatures in your attic can also be a source of significant moisture buildup, which can degrade the integrity of your roof over time.
What’s more, if your home has any ductwork or HVAC equipment, the lower temperature brought about by an attic fan can prevent those fixtures from overheating!
What Are The Different Types Of Attic Fans?
Attic fans are usually broken into 2 categories, with some further subcategories based upon which you choose. Let’s learn more!
Roof mounted fans, as you’d expect, need you to install a ventilation port close to the peak of your roof.
The fan is mounted on a plate which sits over this ventilation port. Roof mounted fans are usually easiest to install.
Roof mounted fans, due to their horizontal installation, can actually be equipped with solar panels, making them effectively free to run.
They don’t require any mains electricity, which means no wiring, and no extension cords. Alternatively, they can be electrically powered.
The motors aren’t huge, so they won’t draw too much power, and electricity costs shouldn’t be a concern.
These fans are mounted vertically in your home’s gable end, and typically have vents, or louvers to prevent birds, squirrels etc. from entering and setting up camp in your attic.
So, which is best?
It all depends on what you’re looking for.
Roof mounted fans, as we mentioned, are typically easiest to install, and offer incredible efficiency thanks to the solar power options.
Having said that, because the fans on gable end mounted models are usually larger, they have a noticeably better cooling capacity.
How do Attic Fans Work?
Attic fans work on a simple principle, hot air out, fresh air in.
As the attic fan expels hot, humid air from your attic, fresh air from outside is drawn into the space through the soffit vents.
This keeps a constant cycle of fresh air moving through the attic whenever the fan is running.
These fans usually operate via a thermostat that automatically turns the fan on and off depending on the temperature set.
You should have the option to control the kick in/shut down temperature.
By keeping the attic cool, you will also assist in keeping the rest of your home cool, so a small investment in an attic fan has the potential to save you money every month in energy bills.
In addition to lowering energy costs, keeping the air cool and dry will help to prevent mold, which can also extend the life of your roof.
Replacement roofs are expensive, so squeezing every possible day out of the one you have is important, and a good attic fan can help.
What Do You Look For In The Best Attic Fans?
Attic fans probably deal with more punishment than you could ever possibly throw at a fan you’d use inside your home, or even in your garage.
The intense heat takes its toll on even the strongest components, so in order to get the best possibly performance and longest life out of your attic fan, look for these features.
Ensure that you choose an attic fan that features all metal construction.
Plastic components will be easily damaged by UV, leaving them brittle, and with the constant vibration and torque forced placed upon these parts, they can easily suffer catastrophic failure.
Some cheaper attic fans only feature an on/off switch, meaning you either have to go up into the attic to turn the fan on or off (when you actually remember), or you need to wire a switch down into the living space in your home.
Neither are ideal scenarios. Instead, look for a fan that features a controllable thermostat that can be programmed to turn the fan on or off when certain temperature thresholds are met.
Attic fans with humidistats are worth their weight in gold.
A humidistat, as you can probably guess by its name, will start and stop the fan based upon the set humidity parameters.
If the attic gets too humid, the fan will start, expelling the moist air until the level drops below your desired setting. If the humidity rises again, the fan will start again.
App control is a feature of the more modern attic fan.
These smart fans can provide not only control over the fan via your compatible smart device, but they can also provide you with valuable real time data about atmospheric conditions in your attic, alerting you if there is a serious issue with temperature or humidity, or even a fan failure.
Having this information on demand means you’ll know what’s happening before it’s too late.
Fire Shut Down
The best attic fans also have fire shut down features. If a fire is detected, the fan will stop automatically, preventing the drawing in of fresh air to fuel the blaze.
CFM stands for cubic feet per minute, and it is a measure of how much air the fan is physically capable of moving.
You might think the more CFM the better, but the reality is more nuanced – you see, it’s possible to get an attic fan that’s too powerful for your attic!
If your attic is too small for the fan, the fan will start to draw air from the rooms elsewhere in the house (the rooms you already pay to keep air conditioned) and will expel that air outside.
Not what you had in mind!
What Size Attic Fan Do I Need?
Fortunately, it’s easy to properly size your attic fan.
The rule of thumb in the industry is that, at a minimum, you need 700 CFM for every 1,000 square feet of attic space.
To apply this to your attic, simply determine the approximate square footage of your attic and multiply by 0.7.
For example, a 1,500 square foot attic would be well suited for a 1,050 CFM attic fan (1,500*0.7 = 1,050).
If you have a particularly steep or dark roof, there’s an additional adjustment you can make.
Take the above number and multiply by 1.2 if you have a steep roof, or by 1.15 for an especially dark roof.
Sticking with our 1,500 square foot example, you’d adjust the CFM to 1,260 for a steep roof (1,050 * 1.2 = 1,260) and a little over 1,200 for a dark roof (1,050 *1.15 = 1,207).
Our Reviews of the Best Attic Fans
QuietCool Smart Attic Gable Fan (Our Top Pick)Check on Amazon
If you’re looking for the best overall attic fan, you really can’t do much better than this smart gable fan from QuietCool.--break--It’s loaded with smart technology including app control with 2 speed automatic control based on your attics temperature, seasonal presents and additional presents for various climate zones, and real time control over the fan from anywhere in your home.--break--This fan can drop attic temperatures by as much as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a significant difference.--break--It’s made in the USA, and it’s rock solid.--break--For easy installation it comes with built in mounting tabs.--break--This is an extraordinarily energy efficient model, too, claiming the title of the most powerful fan in the industry, while drawing as little as 157 watts – this also increases the safety factor as it decreases the load on the circuit.
- Up to 2860 CFM--break--Built in humidistat--break--Long power cord
- Can be loud depending on attic insulation--break--App can be difficult to navigate
Remington Solar Attic Fan (High End Pick)Check on Amazon
If you’re concerned about your carbon footprint and you’re looking for the greenest possible option, look no further than this rooftop mount solar attic fan from Remington Solar.--break--It comes with a built in thermostat and humidistat for automatic control over the fan for both excess temperature and humidity, an excellent feature that got this unit noticed.--break--If you’re concerned about the unit not being able to run at night due to the lack of solar energy, don’t worry, Remington Solar also offer a hybrid kit that will allow you to plug this fan in for 24/7 operation.--break--The fan is powered by a brushless motor for minimal noise, and is capable of ventilating a 2200sq ft space.--break--Installation is simple and for peace of mind it comes with a limited lifetime guarantee!
- Cheap to run--break--Subtle design
- Requires direct sunlight--break--App control & hybrid system require additional purchase
iPower 12 Inch Shutter Fan (Best Budget Pick)Check on Amazon
Our best value winner was this simple, yet effective shutter fan from iPower.--break--It features a 12 inch fan diameter and does a great job of drawing out heat and moisture.--break--The shutters operate automatically, opening when the fan starts and closing by gravity when it stops. It boasts a fully enclosed motor, making it practically maintenance free – it’s thermally protected and permanently lubricated for ease of ownership.--break--While it’s not the most powerful fan on test, it’s certainly adequate, especially given the low price.--break--It moves up to 940 CFM, and runs on only 60 watts.
- Quiet operation--break--Price--break--Reliable and long lasting
- No thermostat--break--Requires wiring
Cool Attic Gable Mount VentilatorCheck on Amazon
Another simple, yet effective attic fan choice is this gable mount Cool Attic CX1500 from Ventamatic.--break--When you buy this, you’re only getting the fan and the thermostat, but if that’s all you need, you are getting a top quality product with no unnecessary parts or features.--break--The thermostat is 10 amp and is adjustable, allowing you to take control over when it starts and stops.--break--The fan blades are precision balanced, too, which really helps to keep vibration and noise down, while improving aerodynamic performance.--break--It can move 1300 CFM, and is suitable for up to 1850 sq ft. It’s made of durable galvanized steel, too, for excellent longevity.
- Easy to adjust--break--Powerful cooling
- Louvers sold separately--break--Thermostat can be inaccurate
AC Infinity Airlift T10 Shutter FanCheck on Amazon
Another strong contender was the Airlift A10 from AC infinity.--break--It comes in a very attractive black finish, and is in fact IP44 rated, making it exceptionally weatherproof.--break--This is a high flow fan that takes advantage of a cutting edge electronically commutated motor that operates based on electronic pulses and smart programming.--break--Speaking of smart programming, it also comes with a wall mounted controller with a large LCD display.--break--It’s a plug and play unit that requires no additional wiring, and it’s rated for a long life – in fact the dual ball bearings in the fan motor are rated at 67,000 hours, or around 7 and a half years of non-stop use.
- Weatherproof motor--break--Plug and play operation
- Large gap at the sides of the louvers--break--Programming can be difficult
Final Thoughts On The Best Attic Fans
We hope we’ve been able to provide you with some good insight on the importance of a good attic fan.
Many homeowners rush to buy box fans or pedestal fans when their air conditioning can’t seem to keep up with the summer temperatures, but those are merely band aids, and often just move hot air around the room, rather than cooling it.
By installing an attic can you can significantly reduce in your home, and give your air conditioning a fighting chance without using excess energy.